Saturday, November 24, 2012

Edwarda O'Bara: Confounding the Wise and the Strong

But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that He may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that He may confound the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27.

Edwarda O'Bara had dreams of becoming a pediatrician.  But in 1970, the year she turned 17, Edwarda took a course that neither she nor her family could have anticipated.  After being rushed to the hospital during an illness, she slipped into a diabetic coma.  She would never come out of that coma, but she would live another 42 years, finally passing away at home on November 21, 2012 at the age of 59.

Judging by the world's standards, Edwarda's was a wasted life, unworthy of being allowed to continue.  But fortunately for her, and for an ungrateful world, Edwarda belonged to a family of devout Catholics who never ceased caring for her up until the moment of her natural death, despite mounting debts and other trials.  Before losing consciousness, Edwarda made her mother, Kaye, promise never to leave her side; Kaye kept that promise until 2008, when she died at the age of 80.

Why was this fortunate for the world?  Because those who suffer in Christ draw down countless blessings and graces from heaven.  It is precisely for this reason that St. Faustina said that it was an unfortunate convent that had no sick sisters.  The same can be said for any family or society that does not have or care for sick and suffering members.  To repudiate these crosses is to despise grace; and to despise grace is to incite God's wrath.  That is what our aborting, contracepting, euthanizing society is doing right now.  It is putting us on the greased skids to hell.

The magnitude of our folly is shown by the lives that Edwarda touched.  Many who are active in the world fail to produce anything like the fruits that she produced merely by lying helpless in bed.  Her mother's steadfast, sacrificial love was an inspiration to many who came in from all over the world to visit the daughter who was the object of such love.  Her sister, Colleen, who gave up her career in order to care for her after their mother died, sums up what Edwarda herself accomplished.  "She taught me so much," said Colleen, "and I'm talking about now, after she was in the coma. She taught me so much about unconditional love that I couldn't say I had it before. She taught me about patience, that I didn't have before. I learned so much from taking care of my sister. It's like I grew up overnight."  Imagine how much poorer and worse off our already pathetic world would be if Edwarda O'Bara's family had followed the "wisdom" of the culture of death.

The O'Bara family is asking for help to pay for Edwarda's funeral, which will take place on Wednesday.  They probably also have an Everest of medical bills to pay.  Donations can be sent to the Edwarda O'Bara Fund, P.O. Box 693482, Miami FL 33269.

UPDATE: More on Edwarda O'Bara's extraordinary story.

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23: Bl. Miguel Pro, S.J. (Re-Post)

Here is a comparatively rare event in the history of the Church: a camera is witness to a martyrdom. The whole affair was orchestrated in 1927 by a fierce enemy of the Church whose savage blows only served to strengthen and glorify both her and the individual victims of his wrath.

A sketch of Bl. Miguel Pro's life brings to mind the story of his spiritual forbears, the martyr-priests in post-Reformation England. Like them, he lived at a time when his nation's leaders turned against the Church. The young Jesuit novice went into exile during the Mexican revolution; like many seminarians during the English persecution, Miguel Pro had to study for the priesthood abroad; he was ordained in Belgium on August 31, 1925. Like his English forbears, Fr. Pro conducted his ministry on the sly, and frequently in disguise.

Fr. Pro was known not only for his devotion and prayerfulness, but also for his wit, his playfulness and his good cheer, especially in the face of a distressing stomach ailment. He was much loved; however, he was eventually betrayed to the authorities and ultimately condemned to death on a trumped-up charge of attempting to assassinate the vice-president.

On the day of Fr. Pro's execution by firing squad, the fiercely anti-Catholic president Plutarcho Calles brought the press out to photograph the event, secure in the belief that he would thereby prove that impending death reduced Catholics to sniveling cowards. In the first photograph above, we see Fr. Pro praying, the picture of serenity in the face of the violent death from which he is only moments away. The next photograph shows Fr. Pro confronting the firing squad, sans blindfold, his arms raised in the form of the cross, with a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other. Fr. Pro forgave his executioners; and as they took aim, he shouted his last words, "¡Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!)." The firing squad was so shaken by his courage that it succeeded only in wounding him; in the final photograph, a soldier dispatches the fallen priest at point-blank range.

Naturally, these photographs had the opposite effect to that intended; Plutarcho Calles ended up confiscating and outlawing them. And Calles obviously did not succeed in entirely destroying the camera's witness to Fr. Pro's courage, since they survive down to the present day.

Chaplet of Bl. Miguel Pro

Blessed Miguel, before your death, you told your friend to ask you for favors when you were in Heaven. I beg you to intercede for me and in union with Our Lady and all the angels and saints, to ask Our Lord to grant my petition, provided that it be God's Will. [Mention the request.]

We honor and adore the triune God. Glory be...

We ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Come Holy Spirit...

We pray as Jesus taught us to pray. Our Father...
We venerate with love the Virgin Mary. Hail Mary...
All you angels, bless you the Lord forever.
Saint Joseph, Saint [name of your patron], and all the saints, pray for us.

Blessed Miguel, high spirited youth, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, loving son and brother, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, patient novice, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, exile from your homeland, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, prayerful religious, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, sick and suffering, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, defender of workers, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, courageous priest in hiding, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, prisoner in jail, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, forgiver of persecutors, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, holy martyr, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why Not Abolish the Universal Franchise?

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money. 

Attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville

I have previously said in this space that there are no political solutions to the problems with this country, only spiritual ones.  But when we start to rebuild after the turmoils and upheavals and perhaps civil war that surely lie ahead, we can't go back to doing business the way we have up to now.  Some political reforms will be in order.  One ought to be to get rid of the income tax, which for too long has served not only as a means of soaking productive citizens but also of tinkering with the social order.  Another one, perhaps, ought to be to abolish the universal franchise.

We all know there was a time in this country when voting was restricted based on race, sex, class, religion, literacy, the ability to pay a poll tax and all sorts of other criteria (many of which boiled down to racial restrictions).  I see no justification for restrictions based on arbitrary factors like race.  But since even now the universal franchise is not absolute, it must be conceded that there is an actual, legitimate point to some voter qualifications.  Convicted felons are disqualified from voting.  Age is a no-brainer.  Citizenship seems no longer to be a no-brainer with some people, but it should be.  I propose adding to that list the requirement that a person own land or other taxable wealth in order to be eligible to vote.  

Why limit the franchise to the propertied classes?  Simple.  Because when the government undertakes a project, they are the ones who have to pay for it.  Why should they not be compensated by possessing the franchise exclusively?  And would this not redound to the common good?  Take control of the purse strings away from those who do not pay for government, and a vast shrinkage would occur.  If you want to see the federal government, for example, restricted to its legitimate functions as enumerated in the Constitution, and functioning frugally into the bargain, a big step in the right direction would be to take away the ability of redistributionist politicians to pander to voters that don't pay taxes.  Why should people who want to benefit from the abuse of the state's coercive police powers by having wealth taken away from its legitimate owners and given to them have any political clout?  To take it away from them would draw a lot of the sting out of the entitlement mentality.  Even if half of Americans want free crap at the expense of others -- as it appears from this month's elections that they do -- at least they would be powerless to attain it.

Isn't the idea of limiting the franchise un-American?  No.  It should be remembered that this country has never been a pure democracy, and in fact the Founding Fathers feared democracy, which they equated with mob rule.  That is the reason for the much-maligned Electoral College and our representative form of government.  Wouldn't it be unfair to certain groups to limit the franchise?  It need not be.  The shrinkage of government bloat that would result from restoring government to its proper limited functions would immediately free up vast amounts of wealth for use in creating even more wealth.  In a country free of stupid government regulations and confiscatory taxation, economic prosperity would abound, and more people would be able to own property.  Of course, one more key element needs to be added to the mix, and that is the rediscovery of our moral compass, without which there can be neither the peace nor the justice that necessarily underlie a successful free market economy.  A moral compass would also impel us to care privately for those who are truly unable to fend for themselves -- and less wealth going down the money pit of big government translates to more for charity.

America must repent and convert, and I'm afraid she has a severe chastisement to endure before she even sees the need to do this.  But once we come out the other side of these trials, we will need to take steps to safeguard ourselves against future backsliding. Abolishing the universal franchise in favor of property owners could be one of these steps.

P.S. In case you're thinking I'm proposing this in the hope of gaining some unfair advantage for myself, be advised that I do not personally own property, so that I am effectively advocating my own disenfranchisement.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

At the Altar of False Ecumenism

For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens. Psalm 95:5

Time once again for the annual "ecumenical prayer service" at my cathedral parish, allegedly to celebrate Thanksgiving.

I went to this once, years ago, because I was in the cathedral choir and the cathedral choir was supplying the music.  The tip-off as to the character of this event came when the Blessed Sacrament was taken out of the tabernacle, and the sanctuary lamp was extinguished.  Anything short of legitimate building repairs or natural disasters that requires Jesus to be evicted from His House should not be happening.

The service opened with a procession of representatives of various religions, including various eastern religions with their ceremonial devices.  A Mormon bishop read something out of either King James or the Book of Mormon, I can't recall which.  A Presbyterian minister gave a sermon.  There was a Hindu or maybe Buddhist ceremony of some sort.  Catholic clergy were involved.  God forgive them for sanctioning all this.  God forgive me for not walking out.

The Catholic Church is the one true Church, and the Catholic religion is the only true religion.  We are commissioned to go out and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  

We do not accomplish this by treading underfoot the binding doctrines of the Catholic Church, which include the foregoing and also the Ten Commandments, starting with: I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt have no strange gods before Me.  That is exactly what we are doing by permitting the worship of strange gods (i.e., devils) inside a Catholic cathedral, thereby (a) breaking the first Commandment; (b) presenting Catholicism as just one among many perfectly legitimate options for religion; (c) confirming those outside the Church in their errors; and (d) planting the seeds of error in those who are inside the Church.  There was a time, still within living memory, when a service like this would have been regarded as a sacrilege beyond all doubt.  This is objectively serious sin; it has been going on for years; and it is all done with the blessing of bishops, priests and deacons.  

"Ecumenism" that requires the betrayal of the Catholic faith and generations of Catholic martyrs is false.  The early Christians looked upon paganism with loathing and disgust as the worship of devils, and loved pagans so much that they strove might and main to deliver them from the bondage of these devils.   Our ancestors in the Faith preferred to be robbed, looted, separated from their families, stabbed, beaten, crucified, beheaded, burned alive, mutilated, tortured, and eaten by lions rather than offer the smallest pinch of incense to idols or repudiate the least Catholic doctrine.  We, on the other hand, must find the true Faith loathsome and disgusting, since we can abide with equanimity the trampling of our doctrines and the abuse of our hallowed places.  And we must also hate and despise pagans, since we not only decline to preach the Gospel to them, but even invite them to perform their rites inside our very sanctuaries.  

How far we have fallen, and no wonder that, even in America, we are being turned over to the hands of our enemies.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15th: St. Albertus Magnus, O.P.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
Pray for us. (repeat after each line)
Holy Mother of God...
Holy Virgin of virgins...
St. Albert...
Man after the heart of God...
Zealous son of Mary...
Worthy son of St. Dominic...
Mighty defender of the Faith...
Solid rock of hope...
Burning Seraph of love...
Enlightened Cherub of wisdom...
Valiant defender of justice...
Sure norm of prudence...
Bright mirror of temperance...
Unshakable pillar of fortitude...
Living model of humility...
Shining example of poverty...
Pure lily of chastity...
True model of obedience...
Precious vessel of all virtues...
Zealous imitator of the Apostles...
Bright gem of Bishops...
Singular ornament of Doctors...
Special glory of the Order...
In anguish and in need...
In tribulation and in persecution...
In the hour of death...

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Pray for us, St. Albert,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: O God, who did richly adorn St. Albert with your heavenly gifts and decorated him with all virtues, grant that, following in his footsteps, we may persevere in your service until death and securely obtain an everlasting reward. Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Dead Nation Walking

Yesterday's election should have been a no-brainer.  That Obama got into the White House in the first place on his prior record is bad enough; but that a majority of voters should re-elect him after he has spent the last four years promoting intrinsic evils, running this country into the ground, pandering to her enemies and openly opposing everything she stands for shows how far gone we are.  

Stark reality: the majority of voters in today's America simply do not recognize evil when they see it.  We are surrounded by evil, at home, at school, at work, on television, in popular culture, until it seems normal.  We take vice for virtue, and virtue for vice, or, at best, a form of mental illness.  We are mired in habitual sin, especially lust.  We equate the pursuit of sensual pleasures to the pursuit of happiness, and sensual pleasures are now more important to us than life itself.  Not only are we willing to kill ourselves and others in the name of pleasure; we will tolerate even the extinction of the human race.  In today's America, formerly illicit liaisons enjoy the protection of law.  Sodomitical unions take the place of natural relations, and concubinage takes the place of stable families.  And the land is awash in the blood of the unborn.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were 1.21 million abortions in this country just in the year 2008.  That is more than the total number of Americans killed in the Civil War and both World Wars.  According to the same source, there were nearly 50 million abortions in the United States between 1973 and 2008.  That approaches the total number of people who perished in World War II.  These figures do not even take into account the numberless souls who are kept out of existence by contraceptives, many of which are abortifacients.

In the face of all of which the Catholic Church in America has remained silent.  For decades, with very few exceptions, American priests and bishops have not uttered a peep about the tsunami of spiritual sewage bearing down on their flocks.  The results are not surprising.  28% of women who have abortions identify themselves as Catholic.  98% of sexually experienced Catholic women have committed the sin of contraception.  Catholics are indistinguishable from non-Catholics in the rate of divorce.  Half of Catholic voters voted for Obama.     

America has turned her back on God and His law, and now He has decisively allowed her to be turned over to her enemies.  This is God’s judgment on the United States, because she will not stop offending Him.  And since the United States will now no longer offer refuge to the oppressed or keep the world’s barbarian warlords in check, it is also His judgment on the whole world for its sins.

There are no political solutions to our problems, only spiritual ones.  The words of Our Lady of Fatima are no less true now than they were 95 years ago.  We must repent, stop sinning, and do penance.  And we must pray the Rosary.  Every day.  Without fail.

All you Dominican saints, whose feast day is today, pray for us.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

More on the Travesty of "Brain Death"

Nicholas Coke was born in 2009 without higher brain functions.  This is because all he had was his brain stem.  He was not expected to survive more than a few hours.  Indeed Nicholas did die -- two years and 11 months later.  Today, the Solemnity of All Saints, Nicholas Coke breathed his last.  

Nicholas defies the culture of death.  Having no brain, was he not "brain dead"?  Shouldn't he have been aborted?  Shouldn't his organs have been harvested for the sake of "worthier" children?  Yet his heart beat on its own; he breathed on his own; he could take nourishment and medication; he could respond to treatment; he moved; he grew; he smiled.  Persons who are dead can do none of these things, with or without machines, to which Nicholas was never hooked up.  Nicholas could neither see nor hear, but he gave signs of awareness that he was being held.  Clearly, the child had a soul, and was therefore very much alive, even though his faculties were severely impaired.  He had a soul, with all the gifts of the soul, dormant though they were in his frail body, even though he literally had no brain.  That is not supposed to be possible -- yet there he was!  Thank God Nicholas was born into a family that cherished his life.  He was surrounded by love, and touched hearts in his turn.

Nicholas Coke is not only a testament to love and life, but also a rebuke and a warning.  He is a rebuke to the arrogance of a society that purports to redefine death for the sake of convenience.  He is a warning that we have made ourselves the enemies of what God holds dear, and that sooner or later we will have Him to reckon with.